Helen C. John

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College: College of Humanities
Discipline: Theology and Religion
Department: Theology and Religion
Research Centre/Unit: Biblical Studies

I obtained my undergraduate degree - BA (Hons) Theology & Religious Studies - at the University of Manchester. Following the completion of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), I taught Religious Studies and Philosophy in secondary schools for the best part of a decade.

I took a year out between teaching posts to complete an MA in Biblical Studies at the University of Exeter, for which I was awarded a Distinction in 2008. It was because of this course that I was inspired to pursue doctoral study.

My research project brings together my enduring interests in biblical interpretation, anthropology and Northern Namibia, where I was a volunteer teacher for 8 months in 1997.

I was lucky enough to be awarded AHRC funding under the theme 'Identities and Beliefs' to undertake my study of contemporary biblical interpretation and identity (in light of pre-colonial beliefs and traditions) in a Northern Namibian village. This is a cross-disciplinary study involving methodological influences from both Anthropology and Biblical Studies. I will be undertaking 12 months of field work in a village in the Ondonga area of North-Central Namibia in order to challenge the idea that pre-colonial worldviews and practices are no longer in evidence in Ndonga belief systems.

My wider academic interests are the New Testament, Biblical Interpretation (anthropological, social-scientific, post-colonial, African), Anthropology, Southern Africa, African Traditional Religion, contextual Bible studies, biblical languages.

I am supervised by Dr. Louise J. Lawrence (primary supervisor) and Professor David G. Horrell (second supervisor), both from the Department of Theology and Religion.